‘Fallen Hunter,’ by Wayne Stinnett

Saying that a series is losing my interest is not precisely the same thing as saying it’s lost its way. I have definite (and limited) tastes; lots of books that don’t interest me have wide and enthusiastic followings. So what I’m about to say about Wayne Stinnett’s Fallen Hunter shouldn’t be taken as a condemnation.

Series hero Jesse McDermitt is back on his private little island as Fallen Hunter begins. He’s still recovering from a personal loss, but now he feels ready to start engaging the world again. A friend’s wife tells him of a problem in her family. Her father, a shrimp fisherman, has gotten himself into trouble. He agreed to make a few deliveries for a drug smuggler to get his business over a tight spot, but now he wants out and the smugglers won’t let him go. In fact, they’re talking about more dangerous goods.

Jesse arranges to take over the shrimping operation for a while, presenting himself as an enthusiastic scoundrel eager to play ball with the smugglers. Then he learns that the “more dangerous” cargo they’re talking about is armaments for a terrorist group. That sends Jesse to his covert operations buddies, and they draft a plan to stop the terrorists.

In his spare time, Jesse meets an attractive local woman and begins dreaming of a new future.

My personal problem with Fallen Hunter was that it shifted the series (not surprisingly, in light of the previous book) into military thriller territory. As a large number of fighting men (and women) converge on Jesse’s island and start doing their operational stuff, I began to grow bored. That the second half of this book consisted largely of people pretending to be on a diving vacation, doing rather languid tourist things while waiting for the action to start, did not increase the suspense.

I was also annoyed, as before, by Jesse’s over-willingness to confide in people he hardly knows. And the final climax of the book was pretty melodramatic.

Still, I like the character enough to give him another chance. I’ll probably read the next book. But not right away.

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